What is Momme Weight?

For a long time silk sheets were thought of as a luxurious purchase that only the very rich could afford to indulge in. While it is true that silk sheets are expensive, it does not mean they are out of reach for everyone.

The best silk sheets are made from 100 percent mulberry silk; have a thread count over 400 threads per inch; have a momme count of about 19, and are woven in way that gives the silk a satiny appearance that is pure luxury against the skin.

Momme? What is that? I wondered too when I first delved into the world of silk and silk sheets. I always thought the best way to judge the quality of sheets was to look at their thread count. The higher the thread count the better the sheets which makes sense because thread count measure how many threads are in every inch of material so a high thread count means a better quality fabric that will hold up well over repeated laundering. But when I first read that momme weight needed to be considered too I was perplexed because I had no idea what it was and why it was important.

Momme weight is a way of measuring things developed by the Japanese. Momme weight is a standard way of measuring the weight of silk as well as a common way to measure pearls. Momme is pronounced much like the word “mummy.”

For silk sheets a momme weight of 12-19 is considered good quality with silk sheets in the range of 16-19 being very high quality. Anything lower than 12 will result in sheets that are not as durable as they should be which means they will be more prone with damage and tearing.

To standard for measuring momme weight is by using a piece of fabric that is 100 yards long and 45 inches wide. If that piece of fabric weighs 19 pounds then the momme weight of that silk is 19.

The higher the momme weight the heavier the fabric which means a greater amount of silk was used in the weaving process.

While silk sheets are typically in the 12-19 momme weight range, the covering on an ultra-luxurious silk comforter is usually in the 18-22 momme weight range. Silk clothing if often in the 8-12 momme weight range. A piece of silk with a momme weight range of 22 is suitable for a mans suit.

The typical momme weight range for a few of the different silks are as follows:

Habutai silk – 5 to 16 momme weight
Raw silk – 35 to 40 momme weight
Chiffon – 6 to 8 momme weight
Gauze – 3 to 5 momme weight

Momme weight is usually shown as “mm.”

When you are shopping for silk sheets and the salesperson starts talking about “momme weight” you will know exactly what they are talking about. And if he or she tries to sell you silk sheets with a momme weight of 8, you can educate that salesperson and tell him or her that 8 momme weight sheets are too lightweight to be a good choice for silk sheets and that they can try and sell their inferior product to someone else because you are not buying them. You are going to look for higher quality silk sheets that will last you a long time.

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